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NHTSA Cues of a Drunk Driver

Ever wonder what the cops are looking for when they stop a person for suspected drunk driving?  There are 24 cues that NHTSA teaches the police to look for; one that is missing is significant:

The Visual Detection of DWI Motorists NHTSA



Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position:


Weaving across lane lines

Straddling a lane line


Turning with a wide radius


Almost striking a vehicle or other object

Speed and Braking Problems:

Stopping problems (too far, too short, or too jerky)

Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason

Varying speed

Slow speed (10+ mph under limit)

Vigilance Problems:

Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one-way

Slow response to traffic signals

Slow or failure to respond to officer's signals

Stopping in lane for no apparent reason

Driving without headlights at night

Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action

Judgment Problems:

Following too closely

Improper or unsafe lane change

Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)

Driving on other than the designated roadway

Stopping inappropriately in response to officer

Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing, arguing, etc.)

Appearing to be impaired


One driving action that is not an established cue of a drunk driver is speeding!  Yet many of the people ultimately arrested for drunk driving are stopped for speeding, but speeding is inconsistent with drunk driving!

Michael Kennedy

Admitted to Bar, State of California, 1981 Education: Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1970) Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California (J.D., Scale, 1981) Harvard Law School, Program of Instruction for Lawyers, Cambridge, 1987



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